WTVM Editorial 8-1-20: Kids, COVID and Classes

Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 3:17 PM EDT
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(WTVM) - Many doctors and mental health experts believe it’s absolutely vital to get students back in the classroom as soon as possible. Most local schools have adopted a delay and/or a hybrid learning strategy to get kids back in school.

It may happen a little later than usual and start with distance learning options, which is probably a smart approach.

No one has all the answers, we surely don’t, but getting kids back in the classroom full-time needs to be the overall goal.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, school was well-known to be not just a place to learn, but important for social interactions, help with emotional and physical needs and a structure that ideally provides safety for every child.

From school lunches to school nurses, schools provide a place for students to belong and feel valued.

So it is fortunate that COVID-19 is not as easily transmitted by children, which has been a small blessing of this pandemic.

The Winston Center at Cambridge University says the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations for children aged 5 to 17 is only 4% per 100,000 people. The rate for the same age group to be hospitalized for the seasonal flu is 24.4%.

As of July 1st, the Centers for Disease Control, says children aged 5 to 14 accounted for just 14 COVID-19 caused deaths in that age group, which numbered 1,981. The 5-14 age group is 12 percent of the population. That means the COVID death rate for children is only 0.03 per 100,000 people.

Of course any death of a child is unacceptable. Certain high-risk students and teachers do need to stay out of the classroom for their safety. For the rest of us, living in this pandemic means constantly evaluating the risks for ourselves and those we love.

Luckily, the risks to children are provably very low. That’s why children and parents should feel confident about getting back into schoolrooms.

Good planning, smart hygiene practices and social distancing can work together to be a formula for returning to school sooner rather than later.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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